Some people believe that on the longest day of the summer – the summer solstice; the evil spirits roam the earth… what they don’t realize in their naïveté is the fact that the evil and wicked never leave their earth. It’s as old as time… the good and the bad are the two sides of the same coin. One cannot overpower the other. But the evil comes wrapped in many colorful temptations: a favor here, a wish there.
The day the original family was cursed with vampirism, they were also granted a gift; the ones with true blood of the Basarab family could bear the sun on every summer solstice. It might not seem much to most but to people who are bound to the night; it was indeed a blessing. And ask those who can’t even have this little ray of sunshine; the non-blood vampires made by venom, it was a gift revered by thousands.
Once again the solstice approached. But to me, it doesn’t hold the temptation it once did. Not when he was bound in the deepest, darkest recesses of the queen’s lair. The queen – my twin sister Lilith, my nemesis. It wasn’t enough for her to sit on the throne that was my birthright and rule my people, she had to have wreck me so thoroughly that even though I breathe, I can’t truly live… not without him – my Wulfric – the only reason I continued living this wretched life. The only offense he’d committed was to love me when he was her general. And for that he’d live in her dungeon, under her thrall, for who knows how long.
I remember the day he came in my life all those long years ago. He was a gift to father by his sister as a goodwill gesture; one of her grandsons – yes her grandson; one of many. Father had brought him over and honed him into one of the most feared generals the vampire world had ever seen. When I first laid eyes on him, he took my breath away. He was so beautiful with his golden skin shinning through the white billowy shirt he wore tucked in khakis. The burnished bronze hair tied neatly on his nape. His sea-foam green eyes sharp and keen seem to be aware of every tiny detail around him. He always kept his eyes downcast when in our presence; he was a gentleman like that. Lilith and I would snigger behind our hands at his chivalry. He was like an old-world gallant prince in the times when nobody cared or even remembered such things.
I found him so different at first, a fascinating and mysterious specimen in a throng of loud and roguish young men. I loved reading him from afar where nobody could catch me in my new hobby. A book in hand, and a cup of coffee and I’d read the odd book in the distance rather than the one right in front of me; in my hands. I’d watch him train the young ones in combat and strategy. His fluid movements across the arena were like a graceful dance on the floor. His eyes would shine whenever he’d hold a blade in his hand. He didn’t seem to like the guns very much but still he would teach the use to those under his charge.
Then I found myself attracted towards him. I’d go out of my way to have a peak at his gorgeous form or to hear him instruct his charges. We rarely talked, if ever. He seemed to think of us as some high and mighty beings who were above him. Lilith – my twin seemed to have grown out of her curiosity about the new addition to our family. She was carefree like that. She was never constant, never still. She had a restless energy that never let her settle. She moved from man to man like they were nothing more than small bumps in her way. I loved her despite all her inconsistencies.
And before I knew it I started to fall. When I jumped I didn’t know. But he was the only thing I could see and think about. And I didn’t care if the fall was scary. I didn’t care if the fall might very well kill me. I just knew that I needed him to catch me before I hit the bottom and shatter.
And after father’s sudden and mysterious death my sister conspired against me. She took everything and I let her. I didn’t care about the throne and the crown. I didn’t care about ruling the world. All I cared about was him… and she even took him away from me. And now he was out of reach… all the sand had slipped from my fingers and I stood empty handed waiting for her to grow tired of me and end my suffering.
The darkness was so immense around me that even my vampire eyes couldn’t see anything around me. Day and night held no difference to me when the darkness was always the same. The only thing kept me going was the thought of one day seeing her again – my Rose – the only reason I remained in these wretched chains.
I remember the day I laid eyes on her for the first time. She was so lovely it took my breath away. The soft smile stretching her rosy lips when she inclined her head politely after her father introduced us… the way she bit her lip to stop from snickering when her sister whispered something in her ear but couldn’t hide those smiling honey colored eyes… the way I’d find her silently watching the training sessions; hidden from the eyes but she couldn’t hide her sweet scent from reaching me.
Betrayed by her own sister – the sister I knew she loved; my Rosette lost everything… her birthright, her people and her father. I had no doubt that it was Lilith behind his mysterious death… his own daughter – hidden behind a mask of innocence; she had struck every one down. And taking everything away from Rose wasn’t enough for that conniving bitch; she had to have me too. Not because she held any softness for me in her blackened heart but because she knew what I meant to her sister and what I felt for her. How can anybody hold so much venom inside and not shrivel up and die was beyond me.
But here I sat; bound in chains by the “queen” of vampires because I was accused of conspiring against her. And she would be right if she truly believed it. My men were slowly turning the army against her rule... and not just the army; I had my men trying to charm the whole vampire senate to over throw her ill gotten rule and crown the true heir to her rightful place at the throne. If it was the last thing I could do, I would gladly give my life's blood away to give rosette back what she deserved. But I knew better; Lilith didn't really believe me to be a traitor or if she did that wasn't the reason behind my imprisonment. I was here because of Rosette. Lilith thought she had me in thrall. She thought she had me where she wanted me. But I stayed in this absolute darkness; weakened by lack of sustenance just so she’d leave my Rose alone. Oh how I longed to be reunited with my love. She was brighter than the solstice sun… her embrace warmer and more fragrant than any bloom.
It was approaching. I could feel the call of the solstice sun deep in my blood. And with that a war waged inside me; whether to stay chained in this dark abyss or to throw caution away and be one with my Rose. I knew what needed to be done if I ever wanted to be with her and not always have to look over my shoulder in anticipation of Lilith’s next attempt at keeping us apart. I had been waiting patiently for so long; giving my people time to do their job and meanwhile keeping Lilith's venomous claws away from my Rose. But now my patience grew thin. The need for her grew stronger. It was like a second heartbeat inside my chest.
I knew I needed to end Lilith before she realized I had always been free. Consequences be damned. And I had given my people enough time. I will deal with whatever comes next if only I had my love beside me.
The heart won and I rallied all of my remaining strength. The chains fell around me with a resounding clank but not a soul was there to have heard it. Every step was agony after that… every breath labored. I kept going because I could see Rose’s smile at the end of this misery.
The four humans I left in my wake would survive the blood loss. I had never taken a life before and I wasn’t going to start now. But I would always regret the fear I caused these four when I snatched them from their quarters in the castle. I needed the strength they provided and I would be thankful to them until the day I drew my last breath.
When I entered Lilith’s room I found her feasting on two young men… alternating between their necks while they pleasured her. Another lay dying near her feet. I felt sick to my stomach at this cruelty and waste of human life. My anger rose. She threw both men away in the blink of an eye. One hit his head against a wall and crumpled.
“Wulfric” she hissed, blood running down her chin to her bare chest. I saw realization dawn on her and she charged. Did she really think she had any chance? She wasn’t the queen by right but treachery. She didn’t have the power of the crown. I waited for her to come to her senses and call for her guard but she was so conceited and proud of herself that she actually thought she could over power me. She came fast and strong and fell right into my waiting grip. She couldn’t even scratch me before I had her neck in my grip. Her eyes widened.
“This is for my Rose and every pain you’ve ever caused her” with that I separated that wretched head from her shoulders and took the crown.
The house Wulfric and I called home was once again a house. She’d taken away my home. I sat on the window sill and watched the rain lashing the window panes; providing a sound track to my dark thoughts. The darkness was absolute with the heavy clouds covering the face of the moon. The trees swayed in the storm… the thunder rolled through the skies but still the immense silence inside me remained. I sat there as I saw the rain stop and the skies clear… as the sun on the solstice rose in the sky… as I felt its call deep within me… and still I just sat there.
The sun reached its peak as I got up from the window and went inside. Looking at the bright day hurt. The longing to see him, to touch him, to feel his arms embrace me was like a second heartbeat inside my chest. Just one last look at his beautiful face and I could die happily.
The sun began its descent and I heard the front door bang open. I didn’t stir. I heard running footsteps coming towards my room and I just lay there. Maybe finally she’d sent someone to get rid of me. I closed my eyes as the door to my room swung open
“Rose” I thought I’d heard wrong. My ears were playing cruel tricks on me now. A tear escaped my closed lids.
“Rose” the voice called from nearer and I was scooped up in strong arms. My eyes flew open to a sight I was sure I would never be able to see again. My Wulfric. My hand trembled as I lift it to his face and a whimper escaped as he turned his head and kissed my palm. He gently lowered my feet to the floor and crushed me to his chest as tears began rolling from both our eyes.
He took my hand and pulled me towards the door. The sun was about to be lost again when we made it out side and the last rays of the solstice sun rained its warmth down on us. It blessed us with its light and my heart soared high.
“Rose” he whispered my name like a prayer as his lips pressed to mine and began their worship.